Passages - Week 3: The Builder

Gentle Persuasion

Day 4

“Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.”1 Peter 3:15

Dealing with questions and issues people raise in spiritual conversations requires preparation. But preparation is more than learning right answers. It involves cultivating right attitudes—gentleness and respect. Gentleness is not usually a term we associate with witness, but it should be. This is especially true in the role of the builder. We should respond to the openness and interest of others with gentleness and respect. And those same attitudes are needed when we encounter questions and objections.

Gentleness is strength under control. Think of a horse. Though its strong, it can be safe, if it’s been trained. You can’t be gentle without strength. A person without strength is not gentle, but weak. Likewise, a person whose strength is unrestrained is not gentle, but dangerous. It is gentleness that makes us safe to others, enabling them to be open and honest. By itself, the truth can be threatening and right answers can alienate. But when truth is coupled with gentleness, it can open the minds of the resistant.


Jesus was not only powerful—he was gentle.

Take a Step

Ask God to make you safe for others to be open and honest about their spiritual journeys. 

Where are you on the spectrum of strength versus gentleness? Do you need to be strengthened? Or to grow in gentleness? How so? 


So they watched him and sent spies, who pretended to be sincere, that they might catch him in something he said, so as to deliver him up to the authority and jurisdiction of the governor. So they asked him, “Teacher, we know that you speak and teach rightly, and show no partiality, but truly teach the way of God. Is it lawful for us to give tribute to Caesar, or not?” But he perceived their craftiness, and said to them, “Show me a denarius. Whose likeness and inscription does it have?” They said, “Caesar's.” He said to them, “Then render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's.” And they were not able in the presence of the people to catch him in what he said, but marveling at his answer they became silent.

There came to him some Sadducees, those who deny that there is a resurrection, and they asked him a question, saying, “Teacher, Moses wrote for us that if a man's brother dies, having a wife but no children, the man must take the widow and raise up offspring for his brother. Now there were seven brothers. The first took a wife, and died without children. And the second and the third took her, and likewise all seven left no children and died. Afterward the woman also died. In the resurrection, therefore, whose wife will the woman be? For the seven had her as wife.”

And Jesus said to them, “The sons of this age marry and are given in marriage, but those who are considered worthy to attain to that age and to the resurrection from the dead neither marry nor are given in marriage, for they cannot die anymore, because they are equal to angels and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection. But that the dead are raised, even Moses showed, in the passage about the bush, where he calls the Lord the God of Abraham and the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob. Now he is not God of the dead, but of the living, for all live to him.” Then some of the scribes answered, “Teacher, you have spoken well.” For they no longer dared to ask him any question.

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